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UN Reform Edward Luck: How not to Reform the United Nations Topics for today Events of the day/week Compare the EU and the UN UN Reform efforts States – and what else? International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) United Nations, European Union, UNESCO, NATO, FAO, WHO, WMO….

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un reform

UN Reform

Edward Luck: How not to Reform the United Nations

topics for today
Topics for today
  • Events of the day/week
  • Compare the EU and the UN
  • UN Reform efforts

Hans Peter Schmitz

states and what else
States – and what else?
  • International Governmental Organizations (IGOs)
    • United Nations, European Union, UNESCO, NATO, FAO, WHO, WMO….
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
    • Economic power: Multinational Corporations (MNCs)
    • Moral power: Transnational Advocacy Networks
    • Illicit power: Drug Cartels and Terrorists

Hans Peter Schmitz

comparing the un and the eu
Comparing the UN and the EU
  • The United Nations
    • Headquarters: New York (Geneva, Vienna), Budget: $1.8 billion (2005; 4.5b for peacekeeping); ten states pay for 75% of the budget
    • Multi-purpose and global organization devoted to international peace and security/promotion of universal aims
    • Main bodies: Security Council and General Assembly
  • The European Union
    • Headquarters: Brussels (Strasbourg, Luxembourg), Budget: $121 billion (2005)
    • Mainly economic organization with regional membership
    • Main bodies: European Commission, Parliament, Council, Court of Justice, European Central Bank.

Hans Peter Schmitz

un budget for 2005 in million top contributors
United States*: 440 (24%)

Japan: 346 (19%)

Germany: 154 (8%)

UK*: 109 (6%)

France*: 107 (6%)

Italy: 87 (5%)

Canada: 50 (3%)

Spain: 45 (2%)

China*: 37 (2%)

Mexico: 34 (2%)

South Korea: 32 (1.9%)

Netherlands: 30 (1.7%)

Russia*: 29(1.3%)

Australia: 28 (1.2%)

Brazil: 27 (1.2%)

Switzerland: 21 (1%)

UN Budget for 2005 (in Million-$): top contributors

Hans Peter Schmitz

general assembly and security council
General Assembly and Security Council
  • Security Council: 15 members; ten non-permanent, five permanent with veto power (China, US, Russia, France, and Great Britain).
  • General Assembly: One state-one vote. Africa and Asia combine now for 56 per cent of the GA votes, rather than 24 per cent in 1945.
  • See chart.

Hans Peter Schmitz

comparing institutions i
Comparing Institutions I
  • European Commission: independent from member states, exclusive authority to initiate legislation, “guardian of the treaties,” about 25,000 civil servants for 25 member states
  • UN Secretariat: responsible for day-today operations; services the principal organs of the UN; about 8,900 civil servants for 192 member states

Hans Peter Schmitz

comparing institutions ii
Comparing Institutions II
  • European Parliament: directly elected representatives from all member states; approves the budget (with the Council)
  • UN General Assembly: one state – one vote; makes primarily non-binding decisions (resolutions; except: budget)

Hans Peter Schmitz

comparing institutions iii
Comparing Institutions III
  • European Court of Justice: power to interpret and enforce EU treaties; hears cases from individuals and corporations; effective in enforcing community law
  • International Court of Justice: relies on prior acceptance by state parties; hears cases from states only; ineffective in enforcing international law

Hans Peter Schmitz

regional igos
Regional IGOs


Organization of American States (OAS)



African Union (AU, since 2002); previously: Organization of African Unity (OAU)


Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Middle East:

League of Arab States

Hans Peter Schmitz

why is european integration a success
Why is European integration a success?
  • Why is European integration progressing while the UN struggles to fulfill its mandate?
    • Shock of World War II and the Holocaust.
    • United States support during in Cold War.
    • Economic integration as focal point. Economic growth of the 1950s/60s legitimized integration.
    • Cultural differences are less pronounced.

Europe: A model for the rest of the world?

Answer: Not likely. The United States and Germany played a unique role in the unification of Europe.

Hans Peter Schmitz

summary understanding igo success and limits
Summary: Understanding IGO success and limits

Lessons Learned

  • Unique conditions in Europe after World War II.
  • Start with a small number of countries and focus only on economic integration.
  • Avoid a mismatch of mandate and capabilities.
  • Expand mandate and membership slowly.
  • Pre-screen new members and create separate steps of integration; members must be democracies.
  • Deepen integration on the basis of consensus, even if it takes longer.

Hans Peter Schmitz

united nations reform
United Nations Reform
  • 2003 reform effort follows the Iraq invasion
    • High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.
      • Civil wars and domestic human rights abuses.
      • “Responsibility to protect” doctrine.
    • Institutional, or political reform (p. 409)?
  • Luck: Expanding the UN SC negates the realities of the world: U.S. is the remaining superpower.

Hans Peter Schmitz

political reform first
Political reform first?

Luck’s key argument: Political reform has to proceed institutional reform.

Delink different reform agendas: UN SC, management, R2P, human rights, etc.

Be modest in your expectations for reforms.

Hans Peter Schmitz

luck and ir theories
Luck and IR theories

How would you characterize Luck’s view?

Which IR perspectives shape his arguments?

Hans Peter Schmitz